Wolf Vostell, ANATOMIE DES HAPPENINGS SALAT, 1971, Galerie René Block, Berlin, 1970
Duration: 7 November 1970–5 November 1971 (happening)/November 6–December 8, 1971 (exhibition)
Opening: November 5, 1971, 9 p.m.
Dimensions: 14.8 x 10.5 cm
Further Information: The exhibition documented Vostell’s one-year décollage-happening Salat, which took place on a train between two German cities. On November 7, 1970, twenty-five salad boxes were placed inside a train coach traveling from Cologne to Aachen and back again. Happening participants also joined, each of whom were physically checked or x-rayed during the return trip. On the next day, this happening was repeated, only this time a biologist checked the salads for radioactive contamination and their level of fouling. From the third day, a metal suitcase travelled for the next 363 days between Berlin. The biologist continued to check the salads, as happening participants continued to be checked for their health over the course of the work’s one-year period. Their final x-ray took place at the end of the happening.
The exhibition at René Block’s gallery in Berlin included, alongside documentary material, photographs and test results, all twenty-five salad boxes, the metal suitcase, and a bronze cast of a ninety-two-day-old salad. On the exhibition note, printed on the back of the press release, Wolf Vostell claimed that the forcefulness of experiencing reality through aesthetic action shall lead to humane behaviour. (“Die Eindringlichkeit der Realitätserkenntnis durch ästhetisches Handeln soll zu humanem Verhalten führen.”)
Images: Images of the invitation and all other archival documents are part of the online collection of Archiv der Avantgarden, Staatliche Kunstsammlungen Dresden.
Below you can see the press release published on occasion of Wolf Vostell’s exhibition at Galerie René Block in 1971, including a hand-written statement by Vostell himself and a film screening program.
To accompany Vostell’s exhibition at René Block in 1971, a catalogue was published documenting the salad happening and its various iterations and stages throughout the year of performative events. The catalogue can be seen below.
Throughout the second half of the 20th century, a few galleries reused the same initial invitation design for other performances. As an example of this, here you can see a selection of invitation cards used by Galerie René Block in Berlin between the years 1965 and 1979. The postcard-sized invitation design, often including a photo of the artist or from a performative event, remained consistent throughout its activities.
Tomas Schmit, Fünfter Soiree/Yoghurt Flasche, Galerie René Block, Berlin 1965
Blockade ’69: Räume von Beuys, Palermo, Hödicke, Panamarenko, Lohaus, Giese, Knoebel, Ruthenbeck und Polke/Card from Karl-Horst Hödicke, Vorschlag für 10 Legehennen, Galerie René Block, Berlin, April 18, 1969
Blockade ’69: Räume von Beuys, Palermo, Hödicke, Panamarenko, Lohaus, Giese, Knoebel, Ruthenbeck und Polke/Card from Joseph Beuys, Vorschlag für 10 Legehennen, Galerie René Block, Berlin, February 28, 1969
Renate Weh, Schuhdenkmal, Galerie René Block, Berlin, 1969
Ben Vautier, 7 Ideas of Ben, Galerie René Block, Berlin, 1971
Marcel Duchamp, Ready-Mades, Radierungen, Galerie René Block, Berlin, 1971
Richard Hamilton, Galerie René Block, Berlin, 1971
Rebecca Horn, Körperraum, Galerie René Block, Berlin, 1973
Dick Higgins, Something Old, Something New…, Galerie René Block, Berlin, 1973
Al Hansen, Viking DADA/Phenomenatransactionskunst, Galerie René Block, Berlin, 1973
Robert Filliou, A World of False Fingerprints (Part I), Galerie René Block, Berlin, 1975
Dieter Roth and Richard Hamilton, Interface, Galerie René Block, Berlin, 1979
Joseph Beuys, Ja, jetzt brechen wir den scheiß hier ab, Galerie René Block, Berlin, 1979